Monday, November 26, 2018

Three Into One

RED LINE-2013-Survivors of a terrorist attack on a subway in LA try to find a way to escape but mostly fight with each other, emote personal stories and torture a guy the others think is a terrorist. It turns out one of them is. But who? (As in “who cares?”) It was directed by Robert Kirbyson and the only actor I really knew in the cast was John Billinsley.

PERFECT CREATURE-2006-This horror film about a human cop and a vampire cop teaming up to fight vampires in New Zealand. Dougray Scott (who almost played Wolverine in the original X-Men movie) is the vampire fuzz. It sucks..really...not good...

THE COOL ONES-1967-Unhip musical comedy about an eccentric English millionaire Tony Crumb (Roddy McDowell) who promotes a young female singer (Debbie Watson) and a washed up rock and roller(Gil Petersen). Phil Harris, Nita Talbot, Mrs. Miller and Glen Campbell are also in it as well bands like The Leaves and The Bantams. It's very dumb. Busy TV director Gene Nelson (also an actor) made this a couple of years after directing Elvis in HARUM SCARUM.

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Savage Shaw Brothers

THE SAVAGE FIVE-1974-Shaw Bros martial arts period piece (directed by Chen Chang) obviously inspired by The Magnificent Seven. When bandits take over a peaceful town three locals (David Chiang, Ti Lung and Chen Kuang-tai) and a thief (Danny Lee) band together to fight them. They do alright at first but then the bandits' boss arrives with a revolver and it's a little harder. Eventually they kill all the bandits but die in the process.

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

More Shaw

ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN-1967-After his father is killed, Kang (Yu Wang) is taken in by a master swordsman and trains at his school. Years pass and he becomes the master's best student much to the chagrin of the other students including the master's daughter Pei (Yin-Tze Pan). In a fit of rage she chops off Kang's arm. He wanders away and is found by Xiao Man (Lisa Chiao Chiao) who nurses him back to health.. At first he's bitter but later he trains with his father's broken sword and goes about his business. Rival master swordsmen Smiling Face (Tang Ti) and Old Long Arm (Yeung Chi-hing) want to wipe out the master swordsman's school using a new weapon called a sword lock. When Pei is kidnapped, Kang saves her. This unfortunately causes some problems for Xiao Man and Kang but then he professes his love for her. Long Arm's forces attack the school and kill many of his students (one guy commits suicide). Just when things look bad Kang shows up (after killing Smiling Face with the help this dad's short sword) and kills Long Arm.. He goes back to Xiao Man leaving Pei angry and broken hearted. 

Thanks to veteran director Chang Chen it has excellent sword fights and some gore. Star Yu Wang was known in the US as Jimmy Wang. ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN was a box office winner for The Shaw Brothers and the first Hong Kong film to gross 1 million dollars! Followed by a great sequel RETURN OF THE ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN and a third unrelated entry THE NEW ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN. All three are highly recommended!

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018


THE IRON MASK-1929-This is a 1950's re-release of the famous (mostly) silent sequel to The Three Musketeers starring Douglas Fairbanks Sr as D'Artagnan. It features new music and narration by Douglas Fairbanks Jr. The two sound sequences are part of the original print. It features great camera work and stunts and the last scene (which also seems to be bidding good bye to the silent era) is memorable. Director Allan Dwan was already a seasoned pro in 1929 as he began his career in 1911! He and Fairbanks also contributed to the screenplay credited to Lotta Woods (who worked on previous films with Fairbanks).

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Friday, November 2, 2018

Inner Sanctum #4

THE FROZEN GHOST-1945-Radio hypnotist Gregor the Great (Lon Chaney) believes he killed a man through his hypnotism act. After much soul searching he comes to believe he's losing his mind so his  manager George (Milburn Stone) suggests he take a job helping Madame Monet (Tala Birell) at her wax museum. Naturally trouble brews between Monet and Greg's girlfriend Maura (Evelyn Ankers) and then between Rudi (Martin Kosleck), the weird sculptor and Gregor over the affections of Monet's niece Nina (Elena Verdugo; Chaney's romantic lead in HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN the year before). Later Monet disappears and Greg thinks he killed her. A cynical Shakespeare loving police captain Brant (Douglas Dumbrille) investigates and at one point says "I'm not paid to think". When Nina discovers her aunt's corpse in a wax display she's chased by a knife packing Rudi but comes to suspect Greg when she sees him with aunt's scarf. Soon it's revealed that George and Rudi are in league to drive Greg crazy. Fortunately Gregor and Brant devise a plan and arrive just in time to save Nina from being burned alive. 

This was the fourth of six “Inner Sanctum” miseries, I mean mysteries. It's ok but the story and direction are kind of slipshod. Harold Young had directed Chaney earlier in 1942's THE MUMMY'S TOMB and later made THE JUNGLE CAPTIVE (the last of the Paula Duree/ape woman series). A drunk at the beginning of the film is played (un-billed) by Arthur Hohl (Montgomery from ISLAND OF LOST SOULS).

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Corman Giant Size Monsters

DINOCROC VS. SUPERGATOR-2010-More made for TV giant reptilian junk courtesy of Roger Corman and the SyFy channel. A genetics lab working to grow bigger food sources is used by an evil industrialist Jason Drake (David Carradine; the only reason I checked this out) to create a giant crocodile and a giant alligator. A sheriff (John Callahan), his daughter deputy (Amy Holt), a hunter (Rib Hills) and an undercover FBI agent (James Burns) try to stop the scaly pair. Somehow the gang gets the two giganto-reptiles together and they fight each other until they are blown up. The fight is nothing but a computerized update of the famous overused stock footage from One Million Years BC. 
The director Jim Wynorski (under the pseudonym Rob Robertson) has been making mostly direct to video soft core nudie movie takeoffs (THE HILLS HAVE THIGHS, THE BREASTFORD WIVES) and cheesy giant reptile craziness under many fake names for years now and also co-wrote this using the name Jay Andrews (I don't really blame him...)

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Lost But Found

PRIVATE PROPERTY-1960-Two hoodlums, Duke (Corey Allen) and Boots (Warren Oates) use intimation and switchblade to get their way. Duke also rides Boots for still being a virgin. They take a shine to a Ann Carlisle (Kate Manx, the director's wife) who they spot at a gas station and force an old guy (Jerome Cowan) to follow her to her house. Fortunately for them the house next door is unoccupied and they squat there and spy on her and her husband Roger (Robert Wark). Duke's sick plan is to seduce Ann and then turn her over to Boots but it doesn't quite work out that way when Boots winds up doing the dead man's float in the swimming​ pool and Duke is shot to death by Ann. 

Though rather mild and irritating by today's standards, PRIVATE PPROPERTY caused a lot of controversy in its initial release and was condemned by The League Of Decency. It played very few venues and disappeared. So much so that it was thought to be a "lost" film until a print was discovered and restored around 2016. 

PRIVATE PROPERTY was the first movie directed (and written) by Leslie Stevens, a busy TV screenwriter at the time. He went back to TV after the failure of this feature before returning to the big screen in 1966 with INCUBUS, the supernatural Bergmanesque parable with dialogue in Esperanto and starring William Shatner. His last work is on the series THE OUTER LIMITS. Sadly, leading lady Manx committed suicide four years after this was made. Star Corey Allen had been in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE and other films and later became a successful TV director.

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